This blog focuses on the quest to know and please God in a constantly increasing way. The upward journey never ends. My prayer is that this blog will reflect a heart that seeks God and that it will encourage others who share the same heart desire.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I Can't

Humans are weak and fragile. The Bible provides the negative extremity regarding this topic: "For apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). People are absolutely powerless. Job described himself as "the weak" and "the arm without strength" (Job 26:2). Heman said, "I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength" (Psalm 88:4). Various verses compare man's weakness to grass that withers, flowers that fall, or vapors that vanish.

Since mankind is so weak, it is wonderful to know that God is not weak at all. "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27). "He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless" (Isaiah 40:23). "It is He who made the earth by His power" (Jeremiah 51:15). "'To whom then will you liken Me that I would be his equal?' says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars. . . . Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing" (Isaiah 40:25-26). "Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power" (I Corinthians 6:14). "And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might" (Ephesians 1:19).

The next consideration provides hope. One could ask of God's strength, "How does that help me?" Actually, God pays a great deal of attention to weak people, not just out of pity, but because He wants to do His work through them. "Who is like the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap" (Psalm 113:5-6). "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong" (I Corinthians 1:27).

Hope increases when the believer realizes that his mighty God gives some of His strength to His weak followers. "Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might" (Colossians 1:11). "He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. . . . Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:29&31). "I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). "For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you'" (Isaiah 41:13).

How can a believer receive this divine power? The simple answer is that of expressing dependence. The needy believer must acknowledge his own weakness and cry out to the mighty God who can help him. The believer must rely on God alone to do through him what he cannot do on his own. "Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm" (Psalm 40:1-2). "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. . . . My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit" (John 15:4&8).

When divine power is shown through weak mortals, how great can that power become? At the very least, it will be enough to do the job, but that is a bare minimum. In reality, God's power is enough to do what man cannot imagine to be possible. "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness'" (II Corinthians 12:9). "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed" (II Corinthians 9:8). "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Ephesians 3:20).

This study began with the negative extreme - the realization that man is so weak he can do nothing on his own. Now the study has reached the positive extreme. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). There is no limit to what someone can do when he is relying on God and His strength to do what God has asked him to do. Nothing is impossible. Great things are possible.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind the reason why a mighty God uses weak people. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves" (II Corinthians 4:7). "To keep me from exalting myself" (II Corinthians 12:7). "So that no man may boast before God" (I Corinthians 1:29). No matter what God does through people, they are still weak, and rightfully He must receive the glory for what only He can do.

"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. . . . so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything" (Colossians 1:17-18).

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